Most of us believe that love feels great. You know, the way you feel when you read the words in a Hallmark card. The cards shows you pictures of cupids shooting arrows into people’s hearts (or two cute penguins checking each other out). You’re made to believe everyone falls in love and lives happily ever after. But lets face it, love doesn’t always feel good! In fact, sometimes it feels a lot like an arrow in the heart. Country artists know this about heartache and make a fortune singing about it. Are you at wits end right now in some of your relationships. Lets face it, loving is easy, until there are actual people involved! So, what is the solution?
Maybe you’ve tried to feel good about someone and it just didn’t work. Try as you might, the ugly feelings just wouldn’t go away. In fact, you felt worse, because guilt kicked in. We’re so good at criticizing ourselves. We say things to ourselves like: “I’m just not a good Christian”. Or, “I’m a terrible pastor, or spouse, or daughter”. You get the idea.
The problem with guilt is….it leaves you feeling guilty. Right when we’re supposed to be loving others, your sight turns inward. Sometimes you feel helpless. The last thing you want to do while feeling helpless, is love someone with all your might. Guilt also tells us to overcompensate. It makes sense to take the kids to Disney to make up for all the missed ball games and daddy dates throughout the year.
Jesus never meant love to be so complicated.
Few places in scripture tell us how Jesus felt around difficult people. What we do have are records of how he acted and behaved. We too, are leaving a record for the public as well as our loved ones. The question is, what kind of videos are we leaving? Are we known as someone who loves well?
Instead of examining our own feelings, what if we took our eyes off of ourselves. Why not focus on the needs of others? After all, our feelings deceive us, right? We’ve all had those days when we FEEL like we’re dying, when in fact we’re healthy. We’ve all felt insignificant, when in fact we are helping many people.
When we take loving actions, sometimes the feelings will follow…sometimes, not always. Feelings are never to take the place of real love. We love our wives, whether we feel like it or not. We work and provide for our families whether we feel like it or not. We take care of our bodies, especially when we don’t feel like it. If you wait for loving feelings, you may be waiting a loooooooong time!
What if you decided to just obey God’s command to love Him and others.
That kind of obedience brings a blessing. It’s not a matter of how you feel, it’s a matter of taking action! Love takes out the garbage. Love does the dishes. Love listens. Love turns the other cheek. Love goes the extra mile. Love blesses those who persecute her. Love takes an active interest in the lives of others, especially those most unloveable. Love is a verb.
This is the mature love the Apostle Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians, chapter 13. He teaches us that love is supreme. Gene Getz put it this way, “Love is the capstone for faith, because love believes all things. It is also the capstone for hope, because “love hopes all things”. Love is the greatest, because it “never fails”
There was a man named John in the New Testament who learned how to love.
The son of a wealthy fisherman, John left his nets to follow Jesus. The bible tells us John was an angry man. He and his brother were the ‘sons of thunder’. John also wanted power. His mother made a special request of Jesus. She wanted him to give her sons prominent places of honor in Jesus’ kingdom. She wanted them to be his left and right hand men. To make matters worse, she voiced her petition in public. Still, Jesus had a special love for John despite John’s faults! You or I would have unfriended John, but Jesus took pains to lead and teach John.
Because of the love Jesus showered upon John, he went on to write The Gospel of John. He also penned first, second, and third John as well as The book of Revelation. How was all of this possible, you ask? The answer is simple. Love, love, love.
John learned how to love by being the direct recipient of love. And not only just any kind of love, but the love of the master! John chose to love others after experiencing the life changing love of Christ. A man who longed for power, prestige and peace found all these things. But he found them by going around the barn. He found them when he discovered his position in Jesus. He learned God really loved him despite his weaknesses and lack of social graces.
John later wrote: “These things have I written into you that believe on the name of the Son of God: that ye may know that he have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God”. (1 John 5:13). Wow! What better way to say ‘I love you.’
John loved us so much,
he left us these beautiful words
to remind us how much God loves us!
Loving God and others isn’t measured by the depth of our warm fuzzy feelings. Yes, feelings can be wonderful, but they’re not always trustworthy. True love trusts God’s command to love him and others despite our feelings. Even when it doesn’t feel good.
Do you have a time when you loved someone despite the fact that they weren’t loving towards you? What were the results?